Career and Technical Education (CTE)- You can MAKE a DIFFERENCE

We Have an Opportunity!

I am going to take a short break from the Campaign to Represent the 97th District to talk about Trade and Technical Education in our District.  We have an opportunity to make a difference on May 3- at a cost of about $50 per household, per year.  I encourage you to vote YES on the CTE millage.

As a high school student in the late 70’s we had a skill center associated with the school.  While some of us were going on to college, many of my classmates were interested in the skilled trades- Training was offered in welding, automotive repair, construction and other trades.  I recently attended a class reunion and many of those friends are on the down side of  long careers as union plumbers and electricians, many ended up owning their own shops.  As a side note, ALL of them owned homes before I did and were not smothered in education debt.  Good paying jobs were available right out of high school.  They started families while I was still in school, and now are beginning to enjoy their retirements (and pensions) in their mid 50’s.  This was a just one of the career paths open to High School kids back then.

There is VERY high demand for the skilled trades- welding, construction, machining, and other trades.  These are opportunities for those with high school degrees to get right into the workforce, in this area.  Those are good paying jobs, and result in home sales, vehicle purchases, and customers for local businesses.  Is that not worth supporting for $50-100 per year as an investment in the future of the District?  I will GLADLY pay it.  This is a program we need in Clare, Harrison, Gladwin, Beaverton and Farwell.  Arenac currently pays 1.89 mils and Osceola pays 1.49.  Clare and Gladwin currently pay NOTHING but this millage request is for only 1.0 mils.  A home with a value of $100,000 would pay $50, and one with a value of $50,000 would only pay $25 to promote the future of our local students.

Without funding, the Clare-Gladwin CTE has been forced to bounce from classroom to classroom, the red haired stepchild of local education.  Facilities and equipment are in scarce supply.  Despite this, our students have overcome and achieved a graduation rate of 98.6% (the sixth highest in the state) and their success stories are many- click the link to see them or go to  They have proven they can do it, that they find the program worthwhile.  They need our support to succeed.

Currently the CTE offers programs in Automotive Technology, Health Occupations, Digital Media, Culinary Arts, Criminal Justice and Construction Trades.  With the 1.0 mils over the 10 years they are requesting they hope to raise $1.9 Million Dollars- allowing them to expand to include Welding, Agricultural Science, and Business Management.  But even more than the needed instruction, your millage will allow long term planning and market research to make sure they are offering the right programs in a stable setting for years.

So often taxes seem to simply disappear- we vote them in, we expect the services and never notice them.  This CTE millage will be a visible use of your tax dollars- your nephew (or niece) may be learning a trade.  Your Union gets a new pool of skilled members for jobs.  Your business earns revenue as they make purchases, and your community gets a larger tax base as working families buy homes.

Please join me in voting for this cost effective investment in our communities on May 3rd.

Dr. Robert Townsend

Democratic Candidate for the 97th District


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